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Bond benefits birds (and other heathland wildlife)!
The new, eagerly awaited James Bond film being shot on Hankley Common, near Elstead, has had a surprisingly beneficial impact on wildlife conservation.
The common, which is owned by the MoD and grazed under agreement by SWT, is being used by Eon Productions as the ancestral home of the Bond family, known as ‘Skyfall’, and has undergone some non-permanent ‘enhancements’ to ensure it fits the bill. SWT was asked to supply 12 – 14ft tall Scots pine trees for set-dressing; the finishing touch to the new mansion, church and grand entrance gates that have sprung up on site.
The Trust delivered a total of 90 trees to the film set, each one a by-product of a structured heathland regeneration programme on Whitmoor and Chobham commons (which SWT manage on behalf of SCC). Both commons support expanses of rare lowland heath, a valuable habitat in itself but also home to many rare plants and animals (including Dartford warbler, nightjar, smooth snake, sand lizard, heath tiger beetle and sundew), however it is constantly being threatened by invading scrub. Over time, this out-competes the more delicate plants and changes the habitat many rare species have become reliant on, so SWT has been working hard, with the help of volunteers and funding from Natural England, to reverse the trend and give the fragile heather space and light to regenerate.
Mark Havler, SWT ranger, said: “The Trust was happy to provide the trees; they were planned to be removed during the process of heathland regeneration and we were paid for them too, so overall a great result! This is not the first time SWT has been involved with the film industry and I hope it will not be the last.”
|Date published:||Wednesday 25 April 2012|